Lime Rock Park Historic Festival Caps the Motoring Season

VENU Magazine, Fall 2016

Photo by Casey Keil/Lime Rock Park

The tranquil and verdant countryside of Litchfield County, Connecticut, belies the energy contained within the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival in Lakeville. Charged with horsepower, style and beauty, the Historics is an annual premier vintage racing and concours event that tops off the motoring season. Collectors, vintage racers and enthusiasts gather over Labor Day weekend, eking out the last bit of summer. This year’s Historic Festival 34, scheduled for Thursday, September 1 through Monday, September 5, will rev up on Thursday afternoon with 120 spectacular cars participating in the traditional Vintage Race and Sports Car Parade from Lime Rock Park to the Falls Village Street Fair. For details, visit

Photo by Casey Keil/Lime Rock Park

Racecar drivers from North America, England and Europe and as far away as Australia will test their vintage Alfa Romeo, Beach, Bugatti, Corvette, Ferrari, GRD, Lotus, Triumph and other marque cars in practice and qualifying sessions on Friday, September 2. Competitors will meet again on Saturday and Monday, September 3 and 5, respectively, navigating Lime Rock Park’s 1.5-mile course. In addition, a sampling of the weekend’s race and concours star cars will strut their stuff in demonstration laps. The entire Park buzzes with excitement, extending to the paddocks with racecar arrivals, tech inspections and service. Vintage Racing Services provides specialized expertise, service and pit crew support of both cars and drivers to contribute to enjoyable, safe and successful outings,

A “Tin-Top” Race Group is new for 2016 with Historic Festival Chairman Murray Smith’s call for “owners of saloons and ‘tin tops’ to create a grid of pre-1970 racing sedans in the manner of Goodwood’s ‘St. Mary’s Trophy’ cars: Ford Galaxies, BMWs, Mini Coopers, Lotus Cortinas, Anglias, Alfa Romeo 1600s, Jaguar Mk2s, Hillman Imps and the like.”

Photo by Casey Keil/Lime Rock Park

The Sunday in the Park Concours and Gathering of the Marques draw eminent collectors, consummate car guys and casual attendees alike. The Concours showcases approximately 250 rare and unique cars from the Brass Era to modern as well as motorcycles. The Gathering of the Marques lines the track with 1,000 cars grouped by make, country of origin or enthusiast club.

Historic Festival 34 will toast racing legends John Morton and Peter Brock as Honored Guests. The Sunday Concours will recognize acclaimed creators and collectors, following past years’ awards to such recipients as Peter Kalikow, Jim Taylor, Rob Iannucci, Ralph Lauren, Lawrence Auriana, Peter Sachs and Dr. Fred Simeone. Additional highlights will be Guernsey’s auction of “Cars for Enthusiasts”, Burt Levy and Tom Cotter book-signing sessions, automobile vendor sales and a swap meet.

Kent Bain, Director of Sunday in the Park, works with Smith “to make Sunday’s programs as extraordinary as the competition-focused days of the Historic Festival. We have created a nationally prominent event that focuses on the cars that have set performance standards and their road-going brethren. Road truly meets track at our Sunday in the Park exhibit, which is augmented by something for everyone in our Gathering of the Marques display. We have transformed a small, local-level show into something very special for lovers of fine machines.”

While the Northeast’s car community idles over the winter months in eager anticipation of next year’s Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, preparations by organizers Smith and Bain are in high gear year round. Bain is a widely respected restoration expert, collector, racer and judge. He and his Automotive Restorations, Inc. team administer the Concours and Gathering: “We all are privileged and pleased to have had a key role in the development of Lime Rock’s Sunday in Park.” Smith has chaired the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival since 2009, drawn to its “uniqueness in featuring splendid racing for important and historic cars and a world-class Concours d’Elegance at the same site on the same weekend.” He applies his love for and accomplishments in racing as well as his esteemed career in international advertising to managing prestigious automotive events, including the Louis Vuitton Concours in Rockefeller Center, New York. He has served on the motorsports committees of a prominent automotive manufacturer and the FIA Formula One Commission and was Chairman of British Motorsports Promoters. He also consults on motoring affairs to one of the world’s leading brands.

Mark your calendars, ready your car for race or show, pack your spectator’s chair and set your course for Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 34!